Make safe love

30 10 2009

A triple homicide. All women. One, actually, was  a little girl. Their maimed bodies were unearthed with missing limbs and various other mutilations. “Authorities suspect these killings were part of a ritual…” I shuddered and let the reporter’s voice fade into the chorus of traffic and street vendors rushing in the open window of the car. “Were they talking about Zambia?” Steph questioned Siwale as he drove. “Yes,” he said, “But that was in a different province.”

That was a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, as we drove home from town, we heard another unsettling report on the radio: a new study confirmed that gender-based violence is the second biggest threat to people’s lives in Zambia. Number one? HIV/AIDS.

I cringed again. And then I realized the unfathomably explosive nature of these two threats colliding. A billboard we had passed a few moments before seemed disturbingly fitting: Sex with me doesn’t cure AIDS!


Imagine this on the side of the road in the US

Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m in Africa. Sometimes it feels so comfortable to be here – so normal, so natural – that I forget the fact that this country, like many others, has a long history of rituals and beliefs that, while not blatantly evident all the time, still have a very real impact on many people’s lives.

Every once in awhile we pass a sign for a witchdoctor along the side of the road. Some people still believe that having sex with a virgin will cure their AIDS. Some girls are still taught that getting their period is really an evil spirit invading their body. Some people will mutilate certain (female) family members for the chance to bring healing or riches or power to their lives.

We did see this scrawled across some seventh graders’ notebooks. It was, presumably, their sex-ed lesson.


In case you can't read it clearly it says: MAKE SAFE LOVE AIDS KILLS

But, then again, I’m not sure I’d really call that much in the terms of progress.


No problem

28 10 2009

I love the start of my days here. I get up, open the windows in the front room, make some tea and then journal and read as I bask in the still silence of the morning.

Yesterday, that quiet was disturbed by the shrill rattle of someone pounding on our gate. I dragged myself out of my chair in order to investigate. An older woman was standing outside with a giant bag of potholders balanced on her head. It was almost 7:30, and apparently this was her second trip to the Service Center so far this morning. She had stopped by at 6, but the guard had informed her she needed to come back later.

She explained that she had an appointment. One of our local staff members had instructed her to meet her here by 8am. Hmm. That’s funny, I thought. No one from the staff is here yet. I made a few phone calls and apologetically explained to the woman that she would have to come back after 10. “No problem,” she said through a big, toothy grin.

No problem. I contemplated that as I turned to go back inside. We hear that a lot here. In fact, it’s probably the most common response we receive to any given request. And they’re not just saying it, either.

Shortly after 10, the lady returned for a third time. Without the slightest hint of annoyance at having been inconvenienced, she discussed a few questions with the staff before plopping down on the cold tile floor to chat with the other women as she sewed.

No problem. And it really wasn’t a problem. I’m sure she had plenty of other things she could have been doing, but she didn’t complain. It didn’t rile her up at all to have to make three trips – on foot – to the Service Center even though staff had told her they would be there to meet her first thing in the morning.

I’m not saying I’m going to start breaking appointments on a whim once I come home, but the whole mindset continues to fascinate me.

Which brings me to today. Today was a day set aside to do work. Today I wasn’t going to leave the Service Center because I had so much editing to do. Today I was going to get things done. Today was also the day the power went out and didn’t come back on for six hours. Today was the day both of my computer batteries were dead by 11am. Today I felt stranded and bored. And today was the perfect day to practice the outlook I have so often observed in the past month.

So, in the end, I discovered that despite the obstacles, all I needed was a slight attitude adjustment and, voila, today really was no problem.

Best seat in the house

27 10 2009

We were greeted by a strange and unfamiliar quiet as we drove up the dusty dirt road to the orphan homes today. No one was weeding the garden, no one was washing dishes in a tub out back, no kids were running around in the yard. The “father” from house number four emerged from his front door and greeted us. “Come,” he said, “all of the children are at the school.” As we tagged along behind him, he explained that there was a ceremony taking place. As it turns out, the Zambian Development Agency (ZDA) was donating 1 million kwacha (about $400) worth of textbooks to the local school.

Gathered in the shade of a few trees just behind the school, we joined a small crowd of people – mostly children in their ragged grey uniforms. In the middle of the group was a small bench where five older men were seated. This was the reserved seating section – occupied by the headman (kind of like a regional chief) and other elders.

Steph and I weren’t really sure what was going on at this point, but apparently the program had just started. We were ushered to the “front” where the headmaster of the school was seated next to three ZDA employees. We tried to insist on standing in the back, but instead we were introduced to all of them and then asked to sit next to the head of the local PTA. I was a little shocked and embarrassed but at the same time curious to see what all was going to take place. We were asked to stand and introduce ourselves to everyone – which just kills me. We just wanted to come hang out with the kids for a little while, and all of the sudden we find ourselves standing in front of a crowd of people, at a ceremony we have nothing to do with, telling them who we are. Ha!

Later I was thankful for our seat, because it was prime for taking in everything that happened. And it was all fascinating to listen to and watch. The whole program was laid out as the people from the ZDA prepared to hand the new text books over to the headmaster. Different groups of kids sang a few songs, a local male quartet preformed a song of thanks they had composed specifically for the occasion (which, as it turns out, no one knew was even taking place until the day before), a poem was recited, and then lots of people gave speeches.

The ZDA representative talked about how the donation came to fruition, and how excited they were to be able to give something to help educate the “future leaders of Zambia”. The thing is, government schools are only free until 7th grade. So books are provided up until that point, but then after that government funding doesn’t offer assistance. And, even in the lower grades, not all the classes have books – and in the ones that do everyone shares or only the teacher has a copy to work from. Needless to say, this was an amazing blessing for the little community, and there was a tangible joy in the air as they danced, sang, and celebrated the gift.

It was cool to see how thankful the students were and how receptive the community was. One of the ladies who spoke talked about how the kids needed to care for these books because “even their great-grandchildren would be using them”. Others talked about the value and importance of education and what an honor it was to help foster growth in their children and in their community. When the headmaster rose to give his speech of gratitude, be mentioned that this wasn’t the only blessing his school has received. He wanted to remind his community how thankful the students and staff continued to be for the one solar panel that was donated the year before. The one solar panel that powered one light bulb in one of the classrooms. “How wonderful,” he said, “that the children can come and work on their homework even after it gets dark.”

Again, watching people with so little give praise and thanks for what they do have left me humbled and in awe.

Some of the local kids watching from the side

Some of the local kids watching from the side

If looks could kill

24 10 2009

If looks could kill I would be dead a million times over.

Janela is eight. We’ve been hanging around the village enough that I recognized her as soon she walked in and sat down across from me. She greeted us with a shy smile. We asked her what grade she was in and to tell us about her favorite class at school. Her eyes slowly glanced around the room as she answered in Nyenja.

It was those eyes that killed me.

She looked down at her hands as the questions continued. Where did you live before you came here? What was life like? The words hung lifelessly in the air. Her body became stiff. But, even as she sat motionlessly on the couch, her eyes told a forceful, poignant story all their own. Her big, deep, sad brown eyes conveyed an indescribable depth of feeling as they cried out in horror and sorrow and pain. It was obvious that she was trying to smother it – she was fighting to keep the hurt buried deep inside – but her eyes betrayed her. Her eyes overflowed with all of the anguish that brimmed from inside her little heart and soul. The force of her gaze was overwhelming. The intensity in those two little eyes is something I will never forget. It pierced my heart and was almost too much for me to handle.

We quickly pieced together bits of her life from her adoptive “momma” before wrapping up the interview. Her mother was dead. She didn’t remember her or know how she died. Her father was a poor farmer who didn’t have enough to feed his children.

But Janela is just a child. She went without food for days at a time, yes, but her eyes cried out with so much more. The story they told didn’t end with a belly aching in hunger. The story they told was full of a deep, dark sadness. It was colored with shades of agony and pain a child should never have to endure.

I’ve seen the story they told being spun from the eyes of so many of the children here.
















Our prayers need our flesh to back them up

22 10 2009

The wind rushes in the open window and I let the force of it knock my head back. The landscape is a blur, and I halfheartedly take note of everything that flashes by me from the backseat of the tiny Toyota. I feel depressed. My heart is heavy, and the weight of my sadness threatens to crush me.

The utter poverty that surrounds me, the sickness, the brokenness, the despair: these things, unfortunately, are not the source driving my gloom.

I’m in Africa. People are dying of AIDS. Kids are begging for food. Women are being abused. Girls are being raped. Men are abandoning their cars along the side of the road because the country has no fuel.

And I feel sorry for myself. It’s an unfortunate phenomenon, one that I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand. But, even in the midst of everything I am experiencing, I can find reasons to be self-absorbed – to focus on how I’ve been wronged and the things I feel life owes me.

That was last week.

That car ride was, obviously, not the highlight of my trip so far. But, as I sat there traversing a range of selfish emotions, I experienced a real wakeup call. I don’t want to be self-centered, but sometimes the feelings well up from dark places I rarely even admit exist. And as I tried to refocus my heart and remind myself that my purpose here is to serve, a whole new mob of questions struck me.

In his book, The Holy Longing, Ronald Rolheiser says that, “Our prayers need our flesh to back them up.” So I started to wonder what, really, is my prayer for the people here? I can hope and wish and pray a million things, but if I don’t take any corresponding action my words and desires quickly prove worthless and empty.

That realization has caused a bit of a challenge for me.

Since we got here, Stephanie and I have felt, to varying degrees, that people view us as an endless pool of money. At first they were subtle about it, but now they just blatantly ask us for cash. And these are people we have been building relationships with – people we consider our friends.

For the most part, we say no. It’s not that I blame them for asking; a lot of it stems from cultural differences. They very much live in a “what’s mine is yours” world. So if someone has something you need, there is no shame in asking for it.

But is it good if we simply give them money whenever they ask? A micro-financing program for women, a school for orphans – these are tools that will empower people. What message are we sending by endlessly offering handouts, though? My logic said: not a good one.

But as I sat in awe of my own ability to be selfish, I started to question my motives. Is this just another instance of me looking out for my own best interest? What do I hope for my new friends? I know I want them to be provided for, for all their basic needs to be met. Is my refusal, then, a hindrance to those desires? Are my hopes for them echoing off hollow walls before falling back on my own deaf ears?

It’s not an easy line to walk. I’m still left wondering if I’m justifying inaction instead of putting my full weight behind my prayers. And I’m not sure there is a “right” answer. But it has opened up a whole new plane of thinking for me in terms of taking action and having the bravery and courage to dream big.

The reailty of AIDS

20 10 2009

Propelled by an insatiable chocolate craving, Steph and I made our way through Kalingalinga to a service station yesterday to see what we could do about calming our sweet tooth. When we arrived, the entire lot was bumper-to-bumper with abandoned cars. Apparently the fuel tanks have been held up at the border and the government isn’t doing much to cut the red tape. So, with no gas to be had, people simply park their cars as close to a pump as possible – and then leave.

All of that to say that, today, Siwale had to sit in line for over five hours to get half a tank of gas. Since no one seems to know when the fuel shortage will be cleared up, we decided to make the most of our time in the bush.

With the “father” from one of the homes translating, we sat down to interview some of the kids. It was fun to watch them giggle as they talked about what they would like to be when they grow up, but the deep sorrow in their eyes as they reflected on their pasts was painful and piercing. It was incredible to pull them aside one by one and hear their stories. Here’s a glimpse of a few of them:

First, there was James. James is a pensive 13-year-old, and it is evident that he has experienced things in this life that are far beyond his years. He and his nine-year-old brother, Kauya, are both HIV positive. Five years ago, they lost both of their parents to AIDS. They had been living with their grandparents in a nearby village. Their grandfather did nothing to support the family, leaving the lame grandmother to fend for the five children. School was out of the question, and they often went several days at a time without food.





Now that he lives in the orphan home, James said he likes to play football (soccer) and cards with his friends, and he enjoys current affairs at school. He wants to be a mechanic. Kauya is playful and smart, and he spends his free time crafting toy cars from wire and plastic bottles. He wants to be a truck driver when he grows up. While we are there, Kauya is pulled aside to eat dinner before the rest of the kids. Both boys are able to receive some medication, and, whenever possible, they are given special meals that offer them a slightly higher level of nutrition as they fight to stay healthy.

He's not an easy one to get to smile

He's not an easy one to get to smile

Such a cutie

Such a cutie

Susan is 13. She is sweet and shy. Her father died when she was an infant. “I was never told the cause of his death,” she explained. Even though her mother is still alive, Susan was selected to move to the home because of the deplorable conditions she was living in. She and her siblings (who have all since been sent other places – she’s not sure where) were forced to do heavy work in the fields and were often whipped for not working hard enough. She was enrolled in school, but most of the time her mother refused to let her attend because she needed to work.



Now, Susan says she likes everything about school. “Learning is good for me,” she bashfully reported. She loves art and drawing, and wants to be an art teacher when she is older.

So shy and sweet

So shy and sweet

Justin is nine. His father died in a traffic accident with he was seven, and his mother died in a similar accident three years before that. He has two brothers and a sister. One of his brothers lives with his grandparents and he never gets to see him. The other lives with other relatives just up the road, and Justin is able to see him at school.



Justin’s favorite subject is English. He likes it because he knows it will help him learn to communicate with a lot of different people. He helps take care of the vegetable gardens and flower beds around the house, and he says he likes to help with the cooking because it’s fun to taste-test the food before everyone else gets to.

He's full of smiles

He's full of smiles

Lister is a shy five-year-old when she is around us, but watching her interact with the other children it is obvious she has an opinion and is willing to share it. She, also, is a double orphan because of AIDS. After her parents died she was living with her grandmother. Each day she was forced to get up at 6am and go out to the fields to look after the cattle and goats. No matter the weather conditions, Lister remained in the fields for over 12 hours. She was only given one small meal in the evening before being forced to make a bed on the ground out of a few sacks. Did I mention that she was only five?



Lister is excited to start school next year because she thinks it will help her be disciplined. Until then, she enjoys playing football and jumping rope with her friends.

She plays it off like she's shy, but she's got attitude

She plays it off like she's shy, but she's got attitude

The stories continued. Orphan after orphan joined us on the couch and shared a piece of their lives. And while the characters changed, the plots remained eerily similar. AIDS was, more often than not, a major player in each account. One of the mommas explained that, each year, the kids return to their previous guardians for a week or two in December – it’s a way for them to stay connected to whatever family they have left. Apparently, many of them have been crying for the past month, begging to not be sent back.

It’s hard to believe that these are the “lucky” ones. These kids in tattered clothes with heartbreaking stories are the ones who have been plucked from horrendous situations and been given a fighting chance – if such a thing exists here.

I’m still not done processing everything we heard today. I’m not sure I ever will be.

Life is good

18 10 2009

At three in the morning Stephanie and I made the unanimous decision to sleep in today.

So, after a few hours of solid rest, I got up, made some eggs, took my tea, and had some quiet time on our porch. It was amazing to feel the breeze as I read and reflected. Then, as I  sat in silence, the sounds of the city flooded over the walls around our house. A pastor’s voice boomed over a loudspeaker. Dogs barked, kids screamed, and footsteps rushed down the ally.

The wind eventually carried a few small voices into the mix of noise. They became louder and stronger, and, eventually, I could distinguish the words. It was children singing, and I quickly recognized the song; I’ve heard girls singing it many times.

Oh oh oh oh, my God is good-oh. He gives me plenty, plenty. Oh oh oh oh, my God is good-oh…

Hearing people with so little continuously sing with joy and thanksgiving for everything they do have is an indescribable reminder about truth and the reality of what really matters in life.

I’m going to go scrub my laundry in a tub outside with a hose before hanging it on the line to dry.

God is good. Life is good.

And, with Sunday-night-movie-night on the horizon and the smell of popcorn in the air, I feel incredibly blessed as I prepare to embark on the second half of my stay here.

Two World Wonders in two months

17 10 2009

Is fifteen hours on a bus worth five hours of hiking in absolute beauty? My answer is a resounding, “YES!”

When we arrive at the bus station in Livingston, Catherine informs us that the coordinator of the club there is waiting for us outside. I’m stiff and tired and ready for a change of scenery.

I’m startled by pounding on the side of the bus. I look down to see more throngs of men pointing at me and yelling. We move down the stairs into a mob of chaos that is significantly smaller yet equally unnerving as the one we left behind in Lusaka.

Around the fifth time someone grabs me I can feel myself losing my cool. “Sister, come with me!” “My friend, look at me, do you need a taxi?” “You need a ride? Follow me.” I whip my arm out of one man’s grip and keep my eyes straight ahead. We shove our way through the crowd, greet the Club Coordinator, and are escorted to the car she has waiting. Another man grabs my arm. I’m not happy. “That car is not going anywhere,” he’s says with a snide smirk, “the tire is flat.” I glare up at him, but, unfortunately, he’s not making it up. Not surprisingly, we depart anyway. We are riding on three tires and a rim. With every bump there is a horrible grinding noise, and I feel the wheel being destroyed. The driver welcomes us to Livingston and apologizes as we search multiple gas stations to find one with air. He fills the tire and we proceed to the pastor’s house. He has invited us to stay with him for the night.

The pastor, William, is waiting for us. He’s very young and seems very humble and shy. His house is large and bare and rundown. He shows us to our room – his room, before making his bed on the floor for the evening. I feel horrible, but there is no way to refuse – that would be impolite. It’s a little after two, so we shoulder our guilt and settle in for a few hours of rest.

The door to Pastor William's home

The door to Pastor William's home

In the morning, we wake up and are shown to the rudimentary kitchen. One burner works on the small griddle-like thing that serves as a stove. Bare wiring runs to the outlet to power the device, and when Catherine turns on the water in the small metal sink on the opposite wall she is shocked by the current. We gather some water to boil a few eggs for breakfast. More guilt arises, but the man’s hospitality and gentleness continue to overflow. We drink tea and eat a boiled egg on a piece of plain bread. The flies are more than a little overwhelming.

The Club Coordinator arrives and we say goodbye to William. We walk a few minutes down the road to where the club meets. We quickly discover that they don’t usually meet on Saturdays, but they have rearranged everything for our visit. The counselors are gracious, and the girls sing a few songs for us.

When our visit is over, we head down the road with Catherine and two of the counselors. Apparently they are going to accompany us to Victoria Falls. We run into more GEMS on the road and stop to chat. The heat is once again intense.

We walk to the bus station and buy our departing tickets before hopping on a minibus. As I sit in the back of the bus I vow I never to complain about winter or snow or cold again (I have since retracted that statement, but as the sweat poured off me it seemed like the right thing to do).

The bus stops and we pile out and head across the street. We walk over some railroad tracks and enter the park. A monkey saunters in front of us. It’s hard to believe I’m really here.

It was hot, and the water felt good!

It was hot, and the water felt good!

Since it’s the very end of the dry season here, the falls are not very powerful. But, the view is awe-inspiring in a whole different way. This place is fascinating. It’s not built up and commercialized like national parks in the US. There are hardly any barriers, and the small fences that do line part of the edge are hardly obtrusive.

We walked on top of the falls. It was insane to be up there, standing at the point that the water pours over the edge. The gushing water causes mist to rise as it pounds into the river below. It’s gorgeous and so awesome. Steph and I took a swim in a pool at the top of the falls. I swam at the top of Victoria Falls. What? Really? Sometimes I still have to stop and remind myself that this isn’t a dream.

Just before joining the locals for a swim

Just before joining the locals for a swim

Jumping on TOP of the falls

Jumping on TOP of the falls



It is seriously so high's crazy

It is seriously so high's crazy

In front of the falls

In front of the falls

Right on top of the big fall is where we were swimming a few minutes before

Right on top of the big fall is where we were swimming a few minutes before

Another view from the other side

Another view from the other side

Jumping in front of the Zimbabwe bridge

Jumping in front of the Zimbabwe bridge

We walked across the bridge to get a better view before heading down to the “boiling pot” on the other side of the gorge. It’s a steep climb down, but so worth it. It’s like being in a tropical jungle, and the monkeys and lizards are all around us. We dip our feet in the rushing stream and take in the view.



Down at the boiling pot

Down at the boiling pot

Not sure why it's called that; the water is definitely cool

Not sure why it's called that; the water is definitely cool

Next, we exit the park and head through customs. We venture onto the bridge that connects Zambia to Zimbabwe. We cross over and contemplate going through immigration to see the falls from that side, but Stephanie’s hesitations win out and we head back. We take another swim and I sit on the edge of the cliff for awhile (much to Stephanie’s dismay).

Entering Zimbabwe

Entering Zimbabwe

Watching the mist

Watching the mist

This is one of the shots I took while I was sitting on the edge

This is one of the shots I took while I was sitting on the edge

Looking back, I'm kind of shocked I got that close without freaking out

Looking back, I'm kind of shocked I got that close without freaking out

After about five hours of taking it all in, we cram back in a mini bus and head back to town. We say goodbye to the counselors and head to Wonder Bake to get some food. If you’re ever in Livingston, this is a must.

We had about two hours to wait before boarding our bus, and when we finally get on some more interesting scenes unfold. More unnerving music, more shouting. But, for the most part, it is a pretty uneventful ride home. My legs are cramped, and my knees are killing me, but the time passes quickly and we arrive in Lusaka around 2:30 AM. Catherine finds us a taxi while most people elect to sleep on the bus until morning.

When we arrive at the Service Center I am filthy, dehydrated, exhausted, and oh-so happy to be back. We had to, literally, kick in our door since the lock was stuck, but by 3 AM I was sleeping soundly. Once again amazed that this is real, and humbled by the opportunity to have this experience.


16 10 2009

I instinctively swat at the fly buzzing around my head without taking my eyes off the swarm of men in front of me. They descend on a moving car with force – bargaining, yelling, pushing. We are sitting at Lusaka’s intercity bus terminal. We were supposed to be on a bus three hours ago.

The scene around me should be shocking, but I can’t say as though I’m surprised by any of it. TIA. This is Africa.

It’s hot. Stephanie comments that even her eyes are sweating. Normally I would laugh, but it’s too true to be funny right now.

I continue to focus on the clouds of men scattered around the station as they cast formidable shadows on every potential customer. They work in pairs or groups, and Catherine explains that the bus companies pay them a small commission for every traveler they can coax onto a bus. They reach inside cars and unlock doors before the drivers stop. They grab suitcases and packages and start to carry them off without the consent of the owner. And they shout – a lot.

A fight breaks out around a car. Someone has obviously broken a rule in the unwritten (but well understood) code of conduct. Someone gets shoved, someone else throws a fist. The skirmish is quelled pretty quickly, but there is an intensity in the air as these men scrap for business. It’s quite clear that no one really wants their help. But, that doesn’t stop them from chasing every car, stalking every passerby, and doing whatever they can to persuade people to follow them.

Once a target is spotted, 15 or 20 of them flock to the area and the shouting begins. Usually a few frontrunners quickly emerge and some of the men drop out of the race and start looking for other potential customers. Then more yelling, shoving, and pushing as they vie for the attention of the traveler. I don’t really know what they are saying, but I imagine they are all claiming that their bus is the best, their price is the lowest, and their departures are the timeliest. Most people try to ignore then, but they grab at you and your things without regard for what you want. More yelling – usually at each other. More grabbing, and, eventually either the customer gets away or one seller wins out. It’s all fascinating to watch.

One lady’s box of butter is stolen. She’s furious. One of these men had grabbed it out of her hand to “carry” it for her and now he is gone. She’s yelling back. I decide I like her. They continue to pull at her belongings and assure her it was no one from their company that took her things. She refuses to put up with the assault and finally get’s the police involved.

Our bus finally pulls up. Catherine is determined to get us on first. She makes her way through the crowd. More pushing, but this time I’m in the midst of it. People are crushing into my back trying to get closer to the door. Losing your balance is not an option in this mass of bodies. We wait while the bus is swept and cleaned. People continue to shove and maneuver to get closer to the front of the “line”. When the door is finally opened I’m elbowed by a man who then swings his suitcase around and hits me in the knee. As he climbs on before me, I wince in pain. Oh, chivalry, it’s nice to see you!

We hear yelling behind us and turn to look. The butter was found. A group of men have the accused by the shirt collar and he endures countless smacks upside the head as they drag him away. If there is any sense of justice, I’m assuming this is it.

Finally on the bus Steph and I open our window, come to terms with the smell, and settle in for our eight hour journey to Livingston. We are set to arrive around one AM. We are in the first row, so the crack that takes up the whole windshield is slightly disconcerting. The bus stops several times along the way. The driver blares unsettling music all through the ride – we try to drown it out with our iPods will little success. At one point I open my eyes and look up to see the lights of a semi barreling at us. The driver honks and swerves – narrowly missing a head-on collision. I decided to keep my eyes closed for the remainder of the ride.

Things are different here. The rules and social norms are vastly unlike what I’m used to. But, what can you do? TIA. This is Africa.

Mosquito nets and zombies

14 10 2009

One of our major accomplishments today was purchasing and installing mosquito nets. Ha! Take that, malaria!

This might not seem like a very big feat to some, but I’m currently suffering the consequences of receiving over 30 bug bites on each leg (no lie, I counted) in Peru. I think they somehow managed to damage my nerves because now, even three weeks later, my legs and feet continue to alternate between tingly, completely numb, and incredibly painful throughout the day. Needless to say, I’m more than a little wary of mosquitoes.

And, my other major triumph of the day: zombies. That was my 59 point word that clinched tonight’s Scrabble game.

Ah, just another day in Africa…